Pricing Round-Up: Dems Conference in Albany
Assembly Democrats met behind closed doors last night to gauge their collective sentiment on congestion pricing. According to the Post, only seven of the 36 legislators who spoke during the meeting expressed support, but the one who matters most, Shelly Silver, remains uncommitted:
Silver, who has not voiced a public position on the issue, said the meetings will continue today, and he refused to declare the plan dead.
Meanwhile, Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco has proposed that pricing be attached to the budget, the Daily Politics reports, which would make it tougher to vote down. But on this count, Silver's position is already well-known.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reportedly is vehemently opposed to including congestion pricing in the budget, and has said he doesn't want to deal with this issue at all until after the budget is passed.
After the jump, a collection of quotes from lawmakers following last night's meeting.
From the Times:
“I think it’s going down,” said Anthony S. Seminerio, an assemblyman from Queens. “There are too many unanswered questions.”
“This is Albany, and nothing is dead until it’s dead, dead,” said Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell, who represents the Upper West Side and opposes the mayor’s plan. Still, he said, “It doesn’t look good.”
“The Assembly won’t let the mayor and Senator Bruno force this into the budget,” said Micah Kellner, a Democratic Assemblyman from the Upper East Side who supports congestion pricing. “The Assembly is going to stand firm on this.”
From the Post:
"Congestion pricing is not dead but it's on life support," said Assemblyman opponent Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn). "[It] will require substantial amendments in order to revive it and even that may not be enough."
Assemblyman Michael Benjamin (D-Bronx), another opponent of the toll system -- which is already operating in London -- fumed: "The last good idea to come from Britain was radar!"
"It's a good plan," said Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV (D-Manhattan), one of the few local supporters who spoke. "Anything that reduces vehicle traffic and increases mass transit is a good thing. Driving into Manhattan is a privilege, not a right."
From New York 1:
"It’s just a bad approach where working class citizens of the city of New York are going to wind up having to pay either $8 or eventually a fare increase,” said Assembly member Ruben Diaz, Jr.
"It’s our obligation to help the city and help our neighborhood to obtain the funds necessary to improve our system,” said Assembly member Carmen Arroyo.
"There are some problems in the bill. I think that would need to get addressed before I could consider voting for it," said Assemblymember Danny O'Donnell.